Colorado 2008 campaign amendment ruled unconstitutional

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February 22, 2010

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DENVER, Colorado: The Colorado Supreme Court ruled today that a voter-approved ban on campaign contributions from unions and some state contractors is unconstitutional. The amendment, also known as Amendment 54 was approved by voters in 2008 with 51% of the vote. The high court's ruling upheld Denver District Judge Catherine Lemon's earlier ruling that portions of the amendment are "unconstitutionally overbroad, vague and violate equal protection." The amendment banned sole-source government contract holders and their immediate family members from making political contributions. Opponents argued that the law did not clearly define which contracts the amendment referred to. “[W]e find the Amendment’s deficiencies so pervasive that we must nullify the Amendment in its entirety,” said the court following a 4-1 vote.[1][2][3]

The ballot title, as it appeared on the ballot, read:

An amendment to the Colorado constitution concerning restrictions on campaign contributions, and, in connection therewith, prohibiting the holder of contracts totaling $100,000 or more, as indexed for inflation, awarded by state or local governments without competitive bidding ("sole source government contracts"), including certain collective bargaining agreements, from making a contribution for the benefit of a political party or candidate for elective office during the term of the contracts and for 2 years thereafter; disqualifying a person who makes a contribution in a ballot issue election from entering into a sole source government contract related to the ballot issue; and imposing liability and penalties on contract holders, certain of their owners, officers and directors, and government officials for violations of the amendment.

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